Since its A-lister relaunch, Tidal has been taking over the news headlines. Some of the buzz has been positive about the potential for artists to get more directly involved in the streaming music conversation. Some has been decidedly less positive about how closely Tidal’s design now resembles Spotify’s. But some of the most interesting news have come directly from the man at the center.
Jay-Z participated in a Q&A session about his new business venture at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music this week. He said that Tidal would not be ignoring the major labels, but would also be open to working with independent artists who have no contracts. When the host asked if Tidal could then act as a replacement for a record contract in getting an artist’s music out to listeners, he responded, “I’m on Tidal. I don’t have a record deal. So, yes.” He denied that this openness meant Tidal would turn into a label. “We have bigger ambitions than that,” Jay-Z said.
Tidal exec Vania Schlogel also joined the Q&A, and both emphasized the importance of a different structure for royalty rates. Schlogel said Tidal would offer rates higher than other services, and highlighted the lack of a free tier. Jay-Z also noted the need for better compensation of producers and songwriters. “I think we’ll lose a lot of great writers in the future because you have to do something else, because you can’t sustain a lifestyle, and I think that’s a shame,” he said. “That someone has that talent and just isn’t being compensated because someone needed a business to profit off of their work.”